By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
• A high-speed chase that started as the result of a traffic infraction in Mount Sterling ended in Beardstown with one person dead, another injured and four others who walked away without injury. Jacob Hendricks crashed his pickup into a utility pole at the corner of Eighth and Beard streets in Beardstown after leading police officers from several jurisdictions on a chase that covered 25 miles over 15 minutes in the early morning hours of Jan. 22. Passenger Brianna Baker, a 19-year-old resident of LaPrairie, died in the accident, while Brooke Vonholt, 18, of Clayton, was taken to a Springfield hospital. Three other passengers — Timewell residents Joshua Cooley and Austin Patton and Clayon resident Mackenzie Wright — were not injured. Hendricks was not injured. Hendricks' insurance company settled out of court for $225,000 after being sued by Baker's parents. In November, Judge Bob Hardwick sentenced Hendricks to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for reckless homicide, three years in the DOC for aggravated reckless driving and 364 days in the county jail for a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
• A five-alarm fire destroyed a building at a local manufacturing plant. Every available member of the Quincy Fire Department was called to Doyle Manufacturing near 40th and Broadway at 5:42 p.m. on May 15. A building containing powder coat caught fire on the east side and sent smoke and flames soaring into the air. No injuries were reported. About 130 employees worked in the building. None of them were in the building at the time of the fire. Several witnesses reported seeing large pieces of metal fly in the air after some explosions. The fire led to a temporary closure of Broadway, Quincy's busiest street, from about 36th Street east to the 4100 block of Broadway. Investigators determined the fire was accidental.
• An early morning fire on June 14 wiped out one of Quincy's most-popular restaurants. A four-alarm fire claimed Sprout's Inn, 2814 N. 12th. Firefighters arrived on the scene at 12:50 a.m. Fire crews had to be evacuated from the building twice while fighting the blaze. The Quincy Fire Department was forced to battle the fire from the outside with an aerial truck. It took more than three hours to control the fire. A loose connection in an electrical outlet was found to be the cause of the fire. According to QFD investigators said repetitive use of the electrical outlet over an extended period of time caused a loose terminal connection on the outlet, resulting in overheating. The fire put the restaurant's 72 employees out of work. The owners vowed to rebuild the restaurant and ground was broken in December on the new building.
• The city of Quincy continues to fight the battle against methamphetamine. According to statistics released by the Quincy Police Department in July, the number of meth cases investigated by the QPD increased 68 percent, the number of arrests were up 167 percent and the number of meth labs seized rose by 275 percent over the same period the previous year. The West Central Illinois Task Force seized suspected meth labs on a routine basis throughout 2012. Officers from QPD and WCITF teamed with members of the Adams County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Marshals to make two large warrant roundups late in the year. A late September sweep netted 14 arrests. A week later, seven more people were arrested — most of them on meth-related charges — as a result of grand jury indictments. A similar scene played out in late November when 14 more people were arrested.
• An Augusta native was being called a hero for his efforts in a plane crash near Taylorville on Aug. 11. Brandon Scott Sparrow went down with a disabled plane, piloting it into a back yard. He lost his life in the crash, but spared the lives of those who lived near the crash site. Sparrow was the only casualty in the wreck, which happened after 12 skydivers parachuted from the plane near the Taylorville Municipal Airport. Sparrow dumped most of the fuel from the twin-engine Beechcraft 18 and then nosed the plan into a back yard that officials said was only 75 feet wide. The National Transportation Safety Board have not released an official cause for the crash.
• In a year filled with fires in Quincy, the biggest may have been at the former Anna Brown Home for the Aged, which was located at the corner of Fifth and Maple. The building at 1501 N. Fifth was the scene of a five-alarm blaze on the late afternoon of Aug. 16. The three-story house was built around 1875. In 1901, an addition to the house was built. It was used as a care facility and later as an apartment building. The building was vacant at the time of the fire. Owners Toni and Neal Hemming hoped to rehabilitate the property for apartments, but said they faced a constant battle to secure the property, which had been the target for arsonists. Two 11-year-old Quincy boys were taken into custody shortly after the fire. The juveniles were charged with arson and criminal damage to property.
• Sixteen months after the shooting death of his fiancee, a Hannibal, Mo., man was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the murder. Calvin Duane Pettey was given a mandatory life sentence without parole by Judge Keith Sutherland on Aug. 27. An Audrain County jury needed just three hours on June 20 to find the 42-year-old Pettey guilty in the April 2010 shooting of Sandra Fugate, 32. The shooting took place just two days before the Pettey and Fugate were to be married. The June trial, which was moved to Mexico on a change of venue, lasted three days and featured about 70 exhibits and 27 witnesses. Rebecca Kirk, who testified that she and Pettey were lovers at his trial, was charged with a Class D felony of tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution by Pike County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Steven Fisher on Dec. 19.
• Investigators with the Quincy Police Department were treating the discovery of human remains at a fire near Quincy's riverfront as a homicide. The remains of Nancy Streitmatter, 48, were found in the debris the day after a fire at 219 Oak. A five-alarm fire on the evening of Oct. 7 damaged Salvage Lumber Co., an antique wood restoration shop. Business owner Rick Dulaney said the fire started in an addition at the rear of the building, and Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning said the remains were found in that part of the building. Autopsy results released in early December showed that Streitmatter died as the result of a head injury. QPD investigators said all possibilities for Streitmatter's death were being examined, from homicide to accidental death. Quincy Police have not focused its investigation on one specific circumstance or individual.
• A motorcycle club in Liberty found its members in the news twice during 2012. On May 20, four people were arrested at the Midwest Percenters Clubhouse and charged with the armed robbery of two male Quincy motorcyclists. The two victims were not injured after the four men allegedly robbed them at gunpoint and took motorcycle apparel as they were riding through Quincy. A semi-automatic handgun and a loaded sawed-off shotgun were seized from the club as were four Harley-Davidson motorcycles belonging to the men who were arrested. Joseph E. Teel Jr. of Barry; Gerald R. Utterback of Barry; Zane E. Liggett of Springfield; and Timothy E. Jackson of Roodhouse were arrested. Jackson was one of two men who were injured after a shooting at the clubhouse in the early morning hours of Oct. 27. Quincy's Michaelangelo Gomez was charged with shooting into the club around 6 a.m. on Oct. 27. He is facing six counts in connection with the shooting, the most serious being two attempted first-degree murder charges. Gomez allegedly used a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle to shoot through the window of the club. Robert J. Morrell of Hannibal was also injured in the shooting. Gomez posted 10 percent of a $250,000 bond. His trial is set for the February jury docket.
• A dispute in rural Novelty, Mo., led to a death and a former St. Louis police officer being charged with second-degree murder. William Bacon, 67, of Novelty was shot to death on Dec. 11. A day later, Glenn C. Head, 58, was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. Deputies with the Knox County Sheriff's Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to a call for service from Bacon near Knox County Road 312 in southwestern Knox County. When they arrived, they found Bacon laying on the ground with a bullet wound to his chest. He died a short time later in the emergency room of Kirksville Regional Medical Center. Head was lodged in the Adair County Jail, but posted a $250,000 property bond on Dec. 13. Head's next court appearance is Jan. 29.